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Tuesday, July 23, 2024  
17 Muharram 1446  

How top courts in different countries live-stream cases

India began live-streaming cases exactly one year before Pakistan joined the club
A screenshot from a live broadcast of Indian Supreme Court.
A screenshot from a live broadcast of Indian Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court of Pakistan for the first time in the country’s judicial history was live-streaming a court case on Monday, September 18, 2023. Usually, cameras are not allowed inside the courtrooms and you can’t even take a photograph.

But Pakistan is not the first country to live-stream or broadcast live court proceedings from its apex court. There are other examples in the world.

The Supreme Court in the United States live-streams only audio. It has not yet adopted video format for a host of reasons that include a desire for anonymity, the worry that soundbites will be edited and comments taken out of context or that the public is not aware of the judicial process.

Associate Justice Elena Kagan, during her confirmation hearings, had advocated for cameras in the courtroom saying “if everybody could see this it would make them feel so good about this branch of government and how it operates. Reading about it is not the same experience.”

Supreme Court of India began live-streaming constitutional cases in September 2022. The livestream in India began after a long debate that ran for almost four years.

The debate might have influenced the decision in Pakistan as the two countries share most of the laws enacted during the British Raj.

Top courts in Canada, the UK, Brazil, and South Africa have also adopted the practice of live-streaming court cases.

Indian Supreme Court is also experimenting with automatic transcribing of the hearings to have a permanent record of the apex court’s workings and to ensure transparency.

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